Old owner wants her horse back, my heart is breaking! - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 38 Old 09-30-2013, 10:48 AM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: QLD, Australia
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The horse is yours now, too bad for the old owner.
Also horses are hardy creatures, it is natural for a horse to be outside in a paddock not locked in a stall. I can guarantee she will be happier out there regardless ofthe weather.
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post #32 of 38 Old 09-30-2013, 11:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2013
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I've seen this happen lots of times before...

A horse owner "gives" a horse to someone that they think will love their horse as much as they do. But they don't really "give" the horse away in their heart...the horse is still the original owner's horse, both in their mind and sometimes on paper.

Good horsemanship/husbandry is defined in many different ways. Just look at all the different opinions on this board! It's much like having children...everyone has their own ways of doing things, and if you see someone doing something to your "child", you react!

I do not predict this situation will have a good outcome for you, unless you get the previous owner to sign a bill of sale/transfer of ownership, AND you have to stop offering for the previous owner to come visit Sophie whenever she wants. It's too hard for her to realize this is not her horse anymore, and she will be a constant PITA and stress to you. It's not worth it. She has to let go, and she won't be able to until she gets it through her head this is not her horse anymore. And even then, she cannot help caring about how Sophie is being taken care of. If she thinks she has a say, she will say it, and won't be shy about it.

Unfortunately, it's a hard lesson, but I'd agree with the others about being reimbursed for the $ you've put out in the last month, and cut your emotional losses. Friendship and horse-ownership seldom mix very well.
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post #33 of 38 Old 09-30-2013, 11:26 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Chino Valley, AZ
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I've been in a similar situation with my old gelding. I was under the impression that he was given to me by my friend that I worked for, who in turn received him from his owners for free because they couldn't afford to have as many horses as they did. Dakota had been with us for over a year and a half when he was given to me. In that time, as far as I know, his owners had not paid one dime for his care, including the corrective shoeing he needed after their farrier screwed up his feet. I did the majority of Dakota's retraining from the ground up, taking him from an ill-mannered, pushy, "spooky" monster who his owners rode him direct-reining in a twisted wire snaffle with his head tied down to his chest, to a well-mannered gentleman who was used as a bareback lesson horse in an eggbutt French link snaffle for a little girl who was terrified of horses. His owners visited him exactly one time in the entire two years we had him, and it was quite by "accident" that they came to see him, as they were dropping off another "wild and crazy" horse of theirs to be retrained by my friend because they couldn't handle him (4yo OTTB with zero manners and no clue about working under saddle properly...but they were still riding him). They saw Dakota for two minutes, complained that he was skinny (he was in perfect weight...he came to us from them very overweight) and they didn't like where he was at (they wanted him in a 12' X 12' box stall with no run instead of the 12' X 20' outdoor mare motel stall with shade/protection...never mind that he went absolutely nuts in a box stall), then left. They came back once to visit their other horse and saw Dakota being used for lessons. Within a few weeks, they had come and taken him back with them, claiming that they had never given him to my friend in the first place (no paperwork was exchanged ever). I had paid for feed and farrier for Dakota for six months, and had cleaned 10-14 stalls per day, plus fed all the horses dinner and worked four of my friend's horses (in addition to Dakota) every day to pay for my stall fee. I had no job and taught piano lessons to pay for his feed and farrier and my gas to drive the 13 miles one way out to the barn. Dakota was worth maybe $500 (8yo Arab/NSH cross who was broke as a 2yo, started over 2' jumps as a 2.5yo, competed hard until he started refusing jumps as a 5yo due to arthritis in his hocks, then "retrained" supposedly as a western pleasure horse, but hated it, and had HORRIBLE ground manners) and I had definitely spent more than that on his care ($80 per month in feed, plus $40 every six weeks for farrier, and my working off $125 per month for his stall fee...in the six months he was "mine," I spent approximately $1350, give or take). Unfortunately, because I had no receipts and no contract, his owners came and picked him up right after Christmas without me knowing it. I found out when I went to house sit at my fruend's house and stopped to see Dakota...and he was gone. My friend off-handedly mentioned that his owners had taken him back and acted like it was no big deal. My heart was broken and my friend and I had a HUGE falling out over it. We didn't speak for over a year, until a mutual friend couldn't take it anymore and acted as a mediator between us. We're tentatively alright now (it'll be three years this Christmas since Dakota was ripped away from me), but it's taken me a long time for me to forgive her and we still don't talk as much as we did.

I guess my point is, get your parents or your BO or someone involved who can speak on your behalf (since you're a minor) and get things in writing so that the same thing that happened to me doesn't happen to you. Save ALL your receipts (regardless of how trivial they seem) and start keeping a log of all money spent on the care of this horse and training time spent with her (you can then approximate your hourly "rate" for training her [I would go with about the same amount that trainers charge for lessons in your area] and add that to what you've spent on her). I agree with the others' assessment that she is worth maybe $1000 given her age and lack of training/handling.
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post #34 of 38 Old 10-05-2013, 08:20 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Somewhat happy update although I'm not out of the woods yet. I went to ride Sophie the other day and when I brought her in all the other horses followed her to the gate and the whole time she was in the barn they were whinnying for her. I rode her and fed her and when I put her back out all the other horses ran to her. She touched noses with one of them then pushed past the others and trotted over to her favorite spot to graze and they all crossed the creek single file behind her. I told her owner about how she was acting more dominant and mentioned a few other things about how happy Sophie seemed and she agreed to give it more time to see how she settled in. Then this morning my trainer texted me telling me that she had found all four of them in the run-in shed together. The run-in shed may be tight, but if they want to pile in on a warm day, then on a cold day they should by nice and toasty side by side in there. Her owner seems more relaxed now so I at least feel confident she won't do anything rash, I've got at least another month to enjoy my horse in peace and hopefully years after that.
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post #35 of 38 Old 10-05-2013, 08:44 AM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Maryland
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While I am happy to see things a little better I am also more worried. The situation has now gone back to more of a free lease than a change in ownership and with obvious heavy conditions even if the conditions aren't in writing. I would seriously consider making moves to have actual ownership transferred, in writing, rather than possibly going through the agony again in another month and your bond with Sophie is even tighter.
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post #36 of 38 Old 10-05-2013, 09:43 AM
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Location: Mississippi
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You stated that the contract was not signed by the owner. Who wrote the contract? If the owner wrote it in her own handwriting, around here it's as good as a signed contract.

I'm surprised your parents aren't backing you on this. This doesn't seem like a family friend. If she takes it back, it makes it seems like she used the love that you have for the horse to provide for it what she wasn't giving it. She would certainly have to reimburse you for your expenses and the time that you spent training Sophie. I don't consider anyone who tries to take advantage of my children a friend, so don't even try to play me that way.

Rescues sometimes makes excellent horses. This is Vegas when he was 1st rescued by my riding instructor in 2010.

This is what he looks like today.

He can sometimes be stubborn and pushy if we let him. He's usually met with an elbow when he's pushy. Oh I don't elbow him. I simply let him bump into it himself and he get's the message. He was a little pushy at feeding time, but thanks to the information I received here he knows he eats when I say he can eat. He's a very sweet horse and is a good ride. I love him dearly. The DH mostly ride him, but he respects both of us as his leader.

I hope everything works out for you and Sophie. I wouldn't let my child give up without fighting for what I feel is right.
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post #37 of 38 Old 10-05-2013, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Originally Posted by tlkng1 View Post
While I am happy to see things a little better I am also more worried. The situation has now gone back to more of a free lease than a change in ownership and with obvious heavy conditions even if the conditions aren't in writing. I would seriously consider making moves to have actual ownership transferred, in writing, rather than possibly going through the agony again in another month and your bond with Sophie is even tighter.
I'm rewriting the contract right now, it wasn't formal enough to even work with the board agreement so even without all the trouble it was worth rewriting. This time I will make sure it clearly states the transfer of ownership and that the owner signs it. My parents are trying to encourage me to write it as a free lease, they just don't get why it's an issue to me for the owner to be able to take her back whenever she wants. After watching me put almost a year of intensive training into this horse you'd think they'd get why I want to be able to keep her without legal issues hanging over my head.
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post #38 of 38 Old 10-05-2013, 10:42 AM
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Location: Canada
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Good news then, TruGing. If you can, perhaps take a few pictures of Sophie when she's hanging out with the herd and particularly in the shelter as the owner was concerned about that before, I think. Present these pictures as part of your talk with the former owner to secure a proper transfer document - it should further ease her mind that all will be well. Also (and I know there has been some discussion on this forum about its legitimacy) offer to write a first refusal clause into the transfer (in other words if for some reason you cannot keep Sophie, the former owner will be given the first opportunity to take her back if she still wants her).
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